Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Legislature, Party Balance

The overall political party balance in the Legislature is important since a joint convention of both bodies elects the Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and State Auditor. The Republican party controlled that joint convention from 1917 through 1974 except for 1965-1966 and 2011-2012.

Since 1974 the Democratic party has had an overall majority with the exception of 1979-80, when the Republican party still did not achieve a majority. With a 92-90 margin over the Democrats, two unenrolled (“independent”) legislators held the balance of power. During that session, Democrats retained all the offices noted above.

In 2010, the Republican Party gained control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the governor’s office.

The four legislators elected in 2002 with no ties to either major party (one Green Independent and three unenrolled) marked the largest number not affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans since the election of 1914. In the 2012 election, the number increased to five members. Members may change enrollment at any time, even after their election. It is not unusual for several changes to occur during the two-year legislative sessions.

Legislative Seats by Party (January 2017)

An overall majority in the legislature may not mean dominance in both chambers – the House and the Senate. When a split in control exists, or when one party controls both chambers but the governor is of another party, compromise or gridlock will emerge, often depending on the leadership qualities of the governor.

House Senate Legislature
Period Rep. Dem. Other Rep. Dem. Other Rep. Dem. Other
1911-12 64 87 8 23 72 110
1913-14 72 72 7 21 10 93 82 7
1915-16 69 78 4 17 14 86 92 4
1917-18 105 46 28 3 133 49
1919-20 110 41 29 2 139 43
1921-22 135 16 31 0 166 16
1923-24 116 35 28 3 144 38
1925-26 121 39 30 1 151 40
1927-28 129 22 30 1 159 23
1929-30 135 16 31 0 166 16
1931-32 120 31 31 0 151 31
1933-34 93 57 1 26 7 119 64 1
1935-36 96 55 22 11 118 66
1937-38 124 27 29 4 153 31
1939-40 125 26 30 3 155 29
1941-42 129 22 31 2 160 24
1943-44 137 14 32 1 169 15
1945-46 137 14 31 2 168 16
1947-48 127 24 30 3 157 27
1949-50 126 25 28 5 154 30
1951-52 126 24 1 31 2 157 26 1
1953-54 127 24 31 2 158 26
1955-56 117 34 27 6 144 40
1957-58 100 51 25 8 125 59
1959-60 93 58 21 12 114 70
1961-62 112 39 30 3 142 42
1963-64 110 41 29 5 139 46
1965-66 70 81 5 29 75 110
1967-68 94 57 24 10 118 67
1969-70 85 66 18 14 103 80
1971-72 80 71 18 14 98 85
1973-74 79 72 22 11 101 83
1975-76 59 91 1 19 14 78 105 1
1977-78 63 88 21 12 84 100
1979-80 73 77 1 19 13 1 92 90 2
1981-82 67 84 17 16 84 100
1983-84 58 93 10 23 68 116
1985-86 66 85 11 24 77 109
1987-88 63 87 1 15 20 78 107 1
1989-90 53 98 15 20 68 118
1991-92 54 97 13 22 67 119
1993-94 60 91 15 20 75 111
1995-96 73 78 16 18 1 89 96 1
1997-98 69 81 1 15 19 1 84 100 2
1999-00 71 79 1 14 20 1 85 99 2
2001-02 61 89 1 17 17 1 78 106 2
2003-04 67 80 4 17 18 84 98 4
2005-06 73 76 2 16 19 89 95 2
2007-08 59 90 2 17 18 76 108 2
2009-10 54 96 1 15 20 69 116 1
2011-12 78 71 2 19 15 1 97 86 3
2013-14  58  89  4  15  19 1  73  108 5
2015-16 69 78 3 20 15 1 89 93 4
2017-18 71 77 3 18 17 0 89 94 3
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